WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Friday, Jan. 20, North Carolina Republicans asked the North Carolina Supreme Court to rehear a case challenging a restrictive photo ID to vote law after the court shifted from blue to red in the 2022 midterm elections.
The case focuses on Senate Bill 824, a 2018 law that provides a narrow list of qualifying photo IDs acceptable for voting in North Carolina. On behalf of individual voters, the Southern Coalition for Social Justice filed a lawsuit on behalf of voters challenging that the statute violated the Equal Protection Clause of the North Carolina Constitution.
In December 2022, when the North Carolina Supreme Court had a Democratic majority, the court permanently blocked the law, finding that it was enacted to intentionally disenfranchise and discriminate against Black voters. Specifically, the court held that “the evidence considered by the trial court supports its conclusion that S.B. 824 has a disparate impact and that this impact ‘bears more heavily on one race than another,’ namely on African-American voters.”
In its opinion, the majority acknowledged that “North Carolina also has a long history of race discrimination generally and race-based voter suppression in particular.” The ruling noted that even though photo ID laws such as S.B. 824 may appear to be ostensibly “race-neutral on their face,” they may “‘nevertheless ha[ve] profoundly discriminatory effects.’”